bet365 Group, an online gambling business operating out of Stoke-on-Trent and owner of Stoke City FC, announced this week a reduction of the English Football League (EFL) club’s debt by £160million ($211.2 million).
‘More Long-Term Stability for the Club’
The reduction which took place in a debt conversion of £40million ($52.8 million) of shareholder loans into equity in Stoke City Holdings Limited, as well as a waiver of £120million ($158.4 million) of shareholder loans, was hailed by the Coates family as “their continuing long-term commitment to the club and its funding.”
“Converting £40m of loans into equity and waiving £120m of loans greatly strengthens the club’s balance sheet and also provides more long-term stability for the Club.”
John Coates, Joint Chairman, Stoke City Holdings Limited
Earlier this month, the full year 2021 financial results of bet365 revealed its founder and co-chief executive officer Denise Coates reportedly took home nearly £300 million ($400 million), despite a roughly £170 million ($227 million) cut in pay and dividends.
And the highest-paid among bet365 directors Coates was not the only one to take significant pay cuts as the main driver behind the increase in operating profit of 47% during a tough year was the reduction of pay packets for directors.
“On the field, the last four or five years have not proved to be as successful as any of us would have hoped. However, our commitment to the club, its future success, financial sustainability and place at the heart of our local community, remains as strong and focused as ever,” John Coates concluded.
Five-Year Redevelopment Program
According to a Stoke City club statement issued in relation to the announcement of the debt reduction, “the debt reduction follows the club’s recent announcement that a £20m five-year redevelopment program at the bet365 Stadium and Clayton Wood training ground is to get underway this summer.”
Under the program, the club will be spending over £4 million ($5.28 million) on stadium facilities in preparation for the 2022/23 season.
Works include the installation of additional 8,400 seats, “the upgrade of Delilah’s Bar, installation of new toilet facilities in the Tile Mountain and South Stands, refurbishment of the Players’ and Stanley Matthews Lounges and installation of a new synthetic, all-weather pitch at Clayton Wood,” available to the first team, line-ups of the Academy, as well as the women’s side.
Stoke City moved from Victoria Ground to Britannia Stadium in 1997 and rebranded it to Bet365 Staduim 19 years later in June 2016. A few months later, in February 2017, the Potters began work to expand the stadium’s capacity to over 30,000.